Quarantine

I feel like its been forever since I’ve published a blog post.  So much has happened in the last couple weeks since I wrote about Felix’s amazing progress.  Not so much just in our home, but in the world.  And since this is a blog written mostly for me and my family to look back on, I’m going to state facts and opinions that most everyone has already either said, read, or heard otherwise.  So sorry if I seem like a broken record with this one…

The world is sick. A new strain of corona virus, called COVID-19, has made the jump from animals to human, and over the course of the last several months it has spread to over a million confirmed human cases so far. I say confirmed, because testing is strictly limited, and unless it’s an extreme illness or a high risk situation, you can’t get tested. The first case was in Wuhan, China. It spread across Asia and Europe, Australia and the United States. It’s almost everywhere now. Italy, Spain, and China have been the hardest hit so far, but USA is closely rising to the top of that list. USA has the most confirmed cases, but not as many deaths yet.  COVID-19 attacks the lungs. Most people that end up hospitalized need to be on a ventilator to recover. It typically attacks those who immunocompromised, have a heart or pre-existing lung condition, or are older than 60.

People have been given orders across the states to stay in their homes, and only go out to get essentials for survival like groceries. Social distancing has been a requirement, where everyone is supposed to stay at least 6 feet away from each other in public. All private gatherings are supposed to be limited to 10 people or less. All church services, concerts, festivals, and even many businesses have been closed, cancelled and/or postponed. Restaurants, theaters, playgrounds, bars, salons, gyms and casinos are all closed. Restaurants are allowed only to do delivery and carry out. Schools were closed until April 13th, and now that’s been extended until April 30th, though it is expected school will not resume until fall.  just yesterday the CDC announced that everyone should wear masks in public, to prevent the spread of the disease even from the asymptomatic.

Early on, before it got real bad here, people went out and bought all the cleaning supplies and toilet paper. It has been difficult, even weeks later, to find toilet paper and diapers.

Over a normal 2-week period in the United States there are about half a million unemployment claims. In the last 2 weeks there have been over 10 million claims. The stock market is crashing. The government is attempting to help the American workers and small businesses by sending out relief checks for $1200 per individual and $500 per child, also stimulus for small businesses. But the future is looking very grim right now. Medical supplies are running critically short and the cases are just now ramping up. The country’s top infectious disease specialist says he expects around 240,000 US deaths by the time we’re done. This is where we are today (3 APRIL 2020):

At first I thought people were being ridiculous with all the closures and whatnot. Now I take it a lot more seriously. My mom is diabetic and has a heart condition, Jarrod’s mom has a heart condition, my best friend has a lung condition…. this virus has the potential to really rock our lives. So I’m doing everything I can to be as safe as possible. Perhaps I’ve even gone a bit overboard… time will tell.

Jarrod is frustrated because he’d rather stay home and be safe, but his employer (a restaurant) refuses to close despite their restrictions and slow business. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before our state closes everything down and has us Shelter In Place like many other states already have.

Having to stay home and not be able to go anywhere or do anything at all (except grocery runs and walks in the neighborhood) has definitely been hard to adjust to. I think most people expected this to pass quickly, but the fact is, it will go on for many more months. All we can all do is take this one day at a time, and do all our best to stay safe and make the best of our quarantine.

SAHM Life

The life of [this] SAHM: take care of baby. Clean. Attempt (and fail) to maintain order with the teens, clean some more, take care of baby, cook, clean, take care of baby, pass out before cleaning is done (because baby doesn’t nap), repeat, daily.

Do I want to spend time with my husband? Sure… we sleep next to each other. Does that count?

Do I want to watch a TV show or movie? Sure… I read captions when I’m able to look up at the TV, and half listen to the rest through crying, talking, loud toys, gaming, and YouTube videos on cell phones.

Do I want to have a relaxing shower? Yeah… I get 5 minutes while the baby plays on the floor or while my husband is getting ready for work in the morning. Or in the middle of the night if I want to sacrifice sleep.

Do I want to eat a meal? Well yeah… I quickly shovel in whatever is baby safe for sharing while the baby is also eating, or while he’s playing or asleep for the night.

Do I want to have a date night? Hell yes…. perhaps when the baby is old enough to have a sleepover with a school friend (in years).

This is my station in life.

Some days I wonder where I am in all of this. When do I get to fulfill some dreams or do what I want? But… I adore my family. I love my husband. I love my kids. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

FREE Tubal Reversal Surgery

My tubal ligation reversal surgery experience was outstanding! I’ve written about it before, and I’d like you to read about it if you haven’t already, by clicking

–> HERE <–

That being said, the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Monteith, has started a great new program that allows 3-4 people per year to have a FREE reversal surgery. There’s an application process, of course. But this guy and his staff are amazing at what they do. To have the opportunity for a free surgery from him is a true gift. Check out all the details by clicking

–> HERE <–

How To Love A Hippie

How To Love A Hippie.

Aug 5, 2015

To love a hippie is to take a walk into a soul’s garden and stop to smell the flowers.

It’s early morning sunshine stretching across a bed tangled with “I love you’s” and the soft gasps of dreams.

To love a hippie is to escape from the mundane into a world that is magical—seeing the joy in the moon rising above the distant sea and the beauty of lips pressed against fresh daisies.

It’s music that lifts and dips, this way and that, moving to a beat all its own. It’s bare feet and long hair tangled in your sleep, and it’s the smile you just can’t forget.

To love a hippie is to hold hands with nature while kissing the stars.

It’s moonbeams and rainbows—and just a little bit of thunder.

It’s the smell of summer rain steaming against the hot earth, and the touch of grass wet with dew upon up the toes.

To love a hippie is to decide that the rules aren’t always worth pursuing. For even on the best day, a hippie will manage to break a few.

A hippie’s love is free as the lark in the sky, and as vast as the night.

Everything and nothing at once, it’s the indescribable feeling of wanting but not needing.

It’s the taste of Elderflower liquor heavy with the smell of Ganeshas Dream hovering in the air. Bare shoulders and wild eyes that dance at the edge of reason and passion.

To love a hippie is to journey into the tempestuous unknown of this life with nothing more than a soft hand and hope.

To love a hippie is to thirst for adventure as others desire their morning coffee. It’s a love like sleek cobblestones and icy glaciers.

To love a hippie is to know that the journey will matter most—that the destination will somehow become lost between 2:00am kisses and fresh bread from the bakery. It’s homemade strawberry jam licked from expectant fingertips, and the taste of honey dust upon bare skin.

To love a hippie is to journey above the rules of relationships and far beyond the expectations of society.

It’s free love, and it’s always the best kind.

To love a hippie is to marry at sunset with the sound of the surf as the only witness. It’s a marriage of two hearts—without rings, without lace and without pretense. It exists because the universe has conspired to make it so.

To love a hippie is to journey not just into love, but into finding yourself as well. It is comfort and understanding—and patience as warm as mamma’s quilt by the fire.

To choose to love a hippie is to decide to make romantic love real. It’s a candle’s flickering glow.

It’s the beauty of love that exists simply because—just as the chicory grows along the wild riverbank—because the very best of things just are. Just as the sun rises in the morning above green-laced hilltops, and as the moon glows pearl-like over fields, the love for a hippie just is.

For a hippie loves another from the purest place in their heart; they don’t know how to love any other way.

If you’re lucky enough to be loved by a hippie, it won’t be because of anything you own or the money in your wallet. It will be because they see you for who you really are; they see the magic you create when you’re not looking.

They are the ones who love with the enthusiasm of a meteor shower in the middle of summer—for they do everything with all their hearts. They are full-throttle—passionate.

They don’t just desire your body; they want to touch your soul as well. They won’t just kiss your lips, but your fingertips too.

They don’t just want you for a night, but for as much of their future as they are willing to plan.

And while they know only the foolish make promises of forever, the truest oath they can make is this:

As long as the sun and moon still kiss the sky, they will try to love you as they did the very first day.

To love a hippie is to know that wherever life takes you, you’ve got your own bit of paradise right next to you—and she’s just waitin’ for a kiss.

~

Author: Kate Rose

Editor: Toby Israel

Bonding

When I was pregnant with Felix, I had certain beliefs and expectations of becoming a new mom again.  I knew I would be tired and sleep deprived for a while, and sore from the c-section.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew the baby would sleep in our bed at least part of the time.  I knew we had family and friends who were looking forward to not only meeting our baby, but helping with him for babysitting and such. And I knew I wanted to stay at home with the baby for about the first year or so, at least.

From the first day Felix was born, he gave me hell about breastfeeding, which continues today.  He has found new and unique ways to make nursing challenging just about every week.  From refusing, to not latching right, to blood sugars requiring supplementation, to LOTS of biting.  Its been crazy!

My expectations about sleep deprivation were very inaccurate.  It’s been nothing like I thought it would be.  Felix does not have typical sleep patterns.  For one, he doesn’t really nap.  He sleeps 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day while laying on one of us.  If he gets put down, he wakes up.  And at night, for the longest time he didn’t sleep much.  He was awake for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night, and nursed several times overnight.  He would be wide awake and happy, playing in the dark and keeping us awake.  I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night for months.  It has evolved a little over time.  Now he generally sleeps well overnight, but still wakes to eat 2-3 times, occasionally staying awake for an hour or two, or occasionally having a night where he doesn’t sleep much at all. On the flipside of that, he occasionally has nights where he sleeps 10 hours straight.  But its more on the sleeping side now.  Even though he’s still challenging to get to go to sleep.

Friends and family have been few and far between as far as visits.  No one babysits except Felix’s big sister Zoey.  And that’s only been a couple times.  But some of that is just because Felix had CMV and was grumpy and colicky until he was about 6 months old.

And that’s where the point of this post comes into play: illness and colic, and bonding with my baby. For the very tough, colicky period, I loved Felix of course, but I didn’t like him. I hated all the crying, particularly because there was nothing I could do to soothe him. I couldn’t make him feel better. He would look directly into my face and scream frantically as if pleading for me to make it better. It broke my heart every day, and I sobbed right along with him.

And after a while the helplessness made me feel like a shitty mom. It made me angry, not at Felix, but at the universe for making my poor innocent baby so uncomfortable and upset. It also made me angry with myself for being so completely unable to make it better. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I started to have feelings of regret and resentment towards myself and Jarrod for deciding to have another baby in the first place. I was desperately missing the time I had spent with my husband, my older kids, my other family, my friends, and even working. I was entirely consumed with the fact that I now had to take care of this little, helpless, miserable, screaming human that I could not comfort or make feel better. I knew it would be a temporary phase in the bigger picture, but every day felt like an eternity. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, as more time passed and Felix wasn’t improving, wasn’t getting past his colic, and now had obvious developmental delays… my already sleep-deprived, depressed and anxiety-ridden brain absolutely ran away with ideas of serious illness and disabilities. He wasn’t physically moving right, seemingly wasn’t seeing or hearing well, wasn’t responding to anything or looking at us at all, had no interest in toys or really anything. Our family doctor really didn’t know what to tell us, so he sent us onto specialists. But before we could meet with the specialists, I couldn’t help but worry myself sick. My brain just would not shut off, thinking he had some severe life-altering condition or issue.

When we met with the developmental specialist the first time, Felix had improved only slightly. That was in August. Genetic tests, body system function tests, and many imaging tests were ordered. Physical, occupational and speech/feeding therapy was ordered. The doc said he wanted to be super aggressive for the best outcome. But while we were waiting for all of these appointments, Felix started to improve on his own.

The only test that came back without a normal result was the one for CMV antibodies. Meaning at some point in Felix’s short life, he had been exposed to CMV and had gotten an infection. CMV is like mono, and it effects everyone differently. Apparently it had a very strong, long lasting effect on Felix in a very important developmental period of his life. So he felt like he had a cold/flu for likely 2-3 months, and that is what was delaying everything.

In October, Felix had his follow up, and by then he was like a whole new baby. And since then he has improved even more. He is babbling, playing, social, happy, communicative, and a complete joy to have in our lives. Physical therapy is helping him learn how to move his body the ways he should have learned when he was sick with CMV. It’s giving him the awareness and confidence to try new things and he’s really blossoming.

His illness and delays really drove a stake into my heart at first, and made me question our decision to have another baby. It was extremely tough, and looking back I’m not sure how we survived it. But now that things are coming closer to “normal,” speaking for myself, there’s an overwhelming sense of relief and joy in my life. Felix is an amazing little guy. I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed to be his mommy. He has taught me so very much already, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me more. The bond is strong now, as I feared it would never be. Thank goodness.

I’m so lucky to have been able to stay home with him and support his extra needs. If I’d had to work or if I wasn’t as involved as I am with him, we may have missed the issues and it could have had much more lasting effects on him overall.

I’m even luckier to have an amazing husband supporting not only Felix’s needs, but me, my needs, and my dedication to helping our son. Jarrod and I make a pretty phenomenal parenting team. There’s no one in the world I’d rather have as my partner in life. He has supported me through all the struggles, listened to all of my venting, and done everything he could do to help in every way. He’s shared in all the joys and triumphs, with just as much excitement. He’s the best husband, father, and man I’ve ever known.

Now the regret and resentment is completely gone, as it has transformed into bliss. We made the right decision to have a baby. Felix makes the most perfect addition to our family. All the older kids adore him, and I feel like his presence is bringing us closer as a family as well. Something we all have in common. I am enjoying watching his personality develop and shine, and I am hopeful and excited for the future with Felix in it.

Social Media Anxiety

In July, I left Facebook for a while.  The only reason I don’t leave permanently is because I have friends and family on there that I do not otherwise connect with, and I don’t want to lose touch.  But anyway, here’s why I took the break: social media induced anxiety.  Comparisons to others’ lives, mostly surrounding Felix.  As I’ve mentioned before, we have some concerns about his developmental milestones, and possible delays.  I’m a member of a few support groups of people with babies born around the same time as Felix, and for a while it felt like all of those babies were growing in leaps and bounds while Felix was lagging back fairly drastically.  He had “colic” or tummy pains for what seemed like forever, and still continues to have more mild pains occasionally, at 6 months old.  He wasn’t making eye contact, reaching for toys, or using his hands much for a long time either.  Seeing all the other babies around the same age doing all of their typical age-appropriate behaviors was making me feel like not only a bad parent, but extremely worried for the future of our baby.  What if he is handicapped?  What if we have a child who will not have a normal life?  What if he will require assistance beyond what I ever imagined?  And I went further and further down that spiral.

Once I broke free of those groups, and realized I needed to quit comparing Felix to the rest of the world, I started to accept our reality rather quickly.  I started to gain some clarity, and ease back from the severe and dark anxiety cloud that was looming over my head.  And I started to come to terms with the fact that Felix is not every other baby.  He is his own very unique person.  And that’s NOT a bad, scary thing.

Once I got that clarity, I started doing things to help him out.  I downloaded BabySparks (app), and have been working with Felix every day that he feels up to it.  I found more ways to entertain and soothe him, and haven’t always been distracted by my phone.  I have accepted him for who he is instead of trying to gain control over something that is not controllable.  And after all of that, I know now he’s not as delayed as I thought he was.  Now that he’s feeling better and is over most of the tummy issues, he is catching up.  He’s making more eye contact.  He’s smiling and giggling more.  He’s babbling, playing, and interacting much more.

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Spending time in nature, just the 2 of us.

We do still have appointments with developmental specialists just in case there is more we need to do.  But after breaking free of social media for a while, and connecting with Felix on a deeper level, one-on-one, without comparisons to other babies, I believe we are in a much better place.  *I* am in a much better place, with less anxiety and more happiness and joy for my baby, which makes him a happier boy too.

Felix will have his 6-month checkup on Friday the 9th, and I will post an update on his measurements and all that he can do after that appointment.  He has grown and changed so much in the last month.  And Jarrod and I are so proud of him.

10 Years of Lessons

10 years has passed.

On June 14th, 2009, my boyfriend Jason died. I was making breakfast for my kiddos, and I heard thumping in the hall. I went around the corner to see him collapse and die. A massive heart attack at age 34. Far too young. I was 28, and my boys were very young. We all saw it happen.

I crumbled. I truly believed at that point in time that he was the love of my life. And in the months and years following, I always believed that my one and only chance at true love died with him. Not only that, but I didn’t trust life anymore. I was terrified of losing my kids and others I held dear. A burning anxiety plagued me for years.

I decided that to honor Jason’s memory, and to be the best mom for my boys, I needed to get my shit together. I attended psychotherapy, took meds, and eventually even worked up to working a full time job again. It took years, but I was able to mend myself and become a whole person again.

Once I was finally happy with my station in life and my capabilities to provide for my family, I met the TRUE love of my life, Jarrod. He’s the only one to ever make me feel the way I do.

Jason was important to me. He taught me a lot in life, and taught me volumes in death. And after 10 years I can finally say I understand the purpose of everything and how it fits for me. The whole experience made me love deeper, cherish stronger, and appreciate so very much more, the people and experiences I have now. I will be forever grateful for those lessons. After all this time I feel like I’ve finally turned the page.